Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Talks between the Spurs and Raptors have intensified in recent days, league sources said. The potential deal would bring Leonard, one of the NBA’s top players when healthy, to Toronto and send an All-NBA and All-Star caliber player in DeRozan to the Spurs. For key figures involved in the deal, it is believed only a snag in final discussions could prevent completion, league sources said
From the moment Leonard made clear his desire for a trade out of San Antonio, the Spurs have taken a patient, deliberate approach to finding a resolution. Several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, emerged as suitors, but most NBA executives believed the Raptors presented the best potential current and future package.
Leonard is scheduled to enter free agency in 2019 and has no desire to play for Toronto, league sources said. DeRozan also has expressed displeasure toward a possible move, becoming aware of the possibility late Tuesday night, league sources said.
I’ll say it up front: I still feel great about the Celtics coming out of the East next season. Still, Toronto is a very real threat in the East that was in danger of being crowded out by the developing talent around the Conference.
From a business perspective, I like the deal for Toronto. Get a dominant, thrilling player on the court and give yourself a puncher’s chance – or better – to come out of the Eastern Conference. The most underrated thing about the Raptors is that their young talent will be a year older, and probably a lot hungrier to win after receiving a class butt-whooping in the second round last year. I don’t see them at the Celtics’ level, but I can promise you they won’t be rattled in a playoff series with Lowry and Leonard leading them.
There’s a small part of me, though, that questions the fit. DeMar DeRozan, the very soul of Toronto basketball, is about to be replaced by the most controversial figure in today’s NBA, who reportedly has no desire to play or stay in Toronto. I’m about 85% sure the risk is worth it, because the best case scenario is far too good to pass up. The city truly loves basketball, and I wouldn’t blame the front office for wanting to take a chance to convince him to stay there long term – the best way to do this, in my opinion, is to have them play as many home games as possible. I would imagine the kind of adoration he’ll get from the fans is more impactful than any meeting behind closed doors, anyway.
Here’s what I do know: I’d be dead terrified if he landed in Philadelphia or Milwaukee somehow, so I’m glad that didn’t happen.
On page 2… daughters. Daughters everywhere.
I’m not one to want to write about this sort of thing. But this? This right here? This is really something. The babies-per-year rate of this team is beyond astounding and is probably record-setting (I can’t seem to find anything on basketball-reference). These Celtics (and Isaiah) have been praised for their determination and fearlessness all year, but clearly their stamina is on another level.
Finally, it’s 2K rating season
I haven’t really played a basketball video game since NBA Live 2003 and it’s probably going to stay that way. At the risk of sounding out of touch, I could not possibly care less about each player’s 2K ratings. Every year we see players get overrated and underrated, not as an oversight, but to stir up conversation to sell the game. And every year, people take the bait. You know what would grab my attention? A 2K game that people aren’t trashing immediately after release. Here’s a revelation: a game that generates its hype with player ratings and not the actual gameplay is almost guaranteed to be a bust.